The visit to the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh city was one of the most difficult afternoons I’ve ever had to go through (similar to the national war museum in Kosovo that I visited a few years ago, and still haunts me). There was never any question in our minds that we would visit before we left the city however, I was dreading it. I firmly believe that we need to acknowledge the greatest atrocities in the world in order that they never be forgotten and, with hope, never repeated. To ignore what happened in Vietnam would be the greatest insult possible to the people; for all its horror, the war was a formative experience for the country and is responsible for much of the national identity today. It broke my heart to see photographs and hear accounts of the violence, but there are people still suffering in the aftermath and whilst we can’t change what happened we can vow never to commit such abhorrent acts again.
What struck me most in the midst of the news reports and graphic images on the walls was the strength of the human spirit. The passion with which people around the world were moved to act in solidarity with those innocent victims is astounding; it leaves me speechless with respect.
Here’s to a world where people can leave in peace and treat each other with kindness, with humanity.